Once upon a time, a little boy with no lower legs worked hard and became an Olympic gold medalist. This is the stuff of fairy tales. Unfortunately, this one did not have a happy ending.
The athlete, of course, is Oscar Pistorius who is accused of murdering his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp.
This sad tale has grabbed the world's attention not just for its celebrity fascination but also because it has exposed societal ills his home country of South Africa.
1.Violence against women. In 2009, 57% of all female homicide victims in South Africa were killed by a significant other. Some South African women think a conviction for Pistorius might indicate that the court system is ready to take violence against women seriously.
2. Gun ownership isn't just a hot topic in the United States. South Africa only has 12.7 guns per 100 people, as opposed to the U.S.'s 88.8 guns per 100 persons, but their presence is still controversial.
Pistorius's defense asserts that their client shot after mistaking his girlfriend for an intruder and the trial raises questions about when gun ownership makes society safer versus more violent. Since the majority of South African gun owners are white men, this issue is also tied to persistent racial tensions.
3. Hero worship. Pistorius's inspiring story and subsequent fall from grace has left many wondering about the role of national heroes. In the words of Atlantic blogger Lane Wallace,
Whatever the outcome of the trial, this ending clearly isn't "happily-ever-after."